On October 31, the Indian Railways urged the Indian Army to build three foot overbridges (FOBs) on Mumbai’s suburban section — at Elphinstone Road-Parel, Currey Road and Ambivli stations. Less than four months later, three green-coloured FOBs are now ready and standing tall. DNA speaks to Brigadier Dhiraj Mohan, Commandant of Bombay Engineers Group which constructed these FOBs. You constructed the FOBs within 117 days? What were the challenges?A It was a challenging task, and we had limited time in hand. We decided to go ahead with Bailey bridge that has remained successful right from World War II. Due to poor soil bearing capacity, we had to go for piling where foundation for pillars had to be created. Normally, we construct Bailey bridges at ground level or slightly at an elevated level with maximum length of 100 ft. But in this case we had to go 240 feet at Elphinstone Road-Parel. Plus, we had to create a canopy (roof) as it is for civil use. In a way, this is for the first time that such a bridge has been constructed by the Indian Army.Special care had to be taken while designing and constructing them?A Yes we had to. We were handed over the site only by November 24 and within a short time a lot of work had to be carried out. We prepared almost 45 drawings for the three bridges together and had several discussions with the Railways too so that it can be executed faster. We designed this bridge in such a way that it can withstand wind speed up to 200 kmph and each square meter of it can accommodate 5.5 tonnes. For the first time, we built this bridge on something called spreader beam — tall steel pillars piled deep into the ground — for strength.Is the Army ready to take up work on more such FOBs?A That is for the Ministry to decide. But whenever our countrymen ask for help, we are more than eager to help them.

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Happy to help our countrymen: Brigadier Dhiraj Mohan